International student-athlete transition into collegiate sport in the United States
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University of Denver, Denver, CO, United States
University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora, CO, United States; University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, CO, United States
University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY, United States
Submission date: 2019-09-12
Final revision date: 2019-11-08
Acceptance date: 2019-11-09
Online publication date: 2019-12-09
Publication date: 2019-12-09
Health Psychology Report 2020;8(1):38-46
Researchers have explored international student-athletes’ (ISA) transitions within the NCAA, often focusing on physical and psychological difficulties, barriers, coping, and influences on performance. The transition into US collegiate sport for ISA not only includes the typical obstacles associated with adapting to college, such as nav-igating socialization opportunities, experiences of homesickness, or interpreting differences in academic struc-ture, but also those related to joining a new system within sport in an unfamiliar cultural setting. However, most of the published work has focused on barriers and problems. Investigations of positive elements in athlete ca-reer transition have been limited, yet are an important element in understanding how to support ISA.

Participants and procedure:
The current exploratory qualitative study examined the perceptions of the types of resources, training, and posi-tive interventions reported to be most helpful for international student-athletes transitioning into collegiate sport in the United States. Five NCAA Division I athletes (three females and two males, from 4 different countries) and two NCAA Division I male coaches participated in individual in-depth interviews.

The central themes that emerged focused on: supportive resources, coping processes, adjustment to team, and adjustment to culture.

These results have implications for understanding effective responses to the obstacles that arise for ISA, as well as purposeful implementation of strategies to help athletes adjust during what is typically a challenging transition period.

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